Dangerously Cold Weather to Impact Wisconsin Next Week
Wisconsin will be under a deep arctic freeze next week. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a combination of brisk winds and cold temperatures will result in dangerous wind chill values between 20 and 30 below zero or colder. So far this winter, at least two deaths in Wisconsin are attributed to the bitter cold.
Meteorologists with the NWS say the cold snap will begin Tuesday morning with temperatures in the single digits in the south and 10-15 below in the north with wind chills of 15-30 below. The arctic air will remain in the state for at least 4 to 5 days. Some areas in northwestern Wisconsin could see wind chills reaching 40 below zero. This is expected to be the coldest weather in the last 15 years.
Below are some of the health and safety concerns everyone needs to be aware of as the thermometer continues to drop. Remember to seek medical attention immediately if you suspect any of these health conditions.
Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of –20° Fahrenheit (F) could cause frostbite in just 15 minutes or less. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear tips or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected—Seek medical care Immediately!
Hypothermia is a condition that develops when the body temperature drops below 95°F. It is very deadly. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care Immediately!
Overexertion is dangerous. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make an existing medical condition worse.
Pets - also need extra care when the temperatures fall. Dogs and cats can get frost bitten ears, nose and feet if left outside during bitter cold weather. Earlier this week, a dog was found frozen to death in Adams County. Pets need appropriate shelter and extra food and water (that is kept thawed) if kept outdoors, however, it may be best during this cold weather to bring them inside where it is warm. Additional pet and livestock winter safety information is available from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. The website address is http://www.datcp.state.wi.us.
Alternative Heat – Never use generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside your home or garage. They produce carbon monoxide which is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas that kills more than 500 people every year. Use extra caution when using space heaters. The following information about alternative heat sources is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Use fireplaces, wood stoves, or other combustion heaters only if they are properly vented.
- Do not place a space heater within 3 feet of anything that may catch on fire, such as drapes, furniture, or bedding, and never cover your space heater.
- Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
- Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
- Have a multipurpose, dry-chemical fire extinguisher.
- Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.
Emergency Kit for Home and Car – To help protect your family now is the time to put together a disaster supply kit. Kits should be located in your home and all vehicles.
Here are some items to include in your home disaster kit:
- Flashlights and extra batteries
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and a commercial radio
- Non-perishable food that requires no cooking and bottled water
- First-aid supplies
- Fire extinguisher, smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector
- If appropriate, extra medications, baby items, and pet supplies
Carry a winter storm survival kit in your vehicle that includes:
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- First-Aid Kit
- Shovel, tools, booster cables and windshield scraper
- High-calorie non-perishable food
- Sand or cat litter to use for traction
Additional information is available from the National Weather Service at www.weather.gov or contact your local emergency management office.
2008 Busy Tornado Season
The 2008 tornado season was very active in Wisconsin, with 38 tornadoes in total. This makes 2008 the in the record books. First place was 2005 with an astounding 62 tornadoes statewide. Second place was 1980 with 43 tornadoes statewide. Wisconsin averages 21 tornadoes per year, which makes 2008 well above normal in terms of number of tornadoes.
The powerful EF-3 tornado that struck in Western Kenosha County on January 7th became the earliest tornado in any given year in Wisconsin. This is based on a calendar year running from January 1st to December 31st. Besides that, the tornado was also the first tornado in Kenosha County since 2001, and the first strong tornado (EF-2 or stronger) in that county since reliable records have been kept.
Twenty-two (22) tornadoes occurred in June in Wisconsin. This is the 3rd most active June for tornadoes in Wisconsin in the record books. First place was again 2005 with 30 tornadoes in June of that year. Second place was June of 1993 with 28 tornadoes in the Badgerland. Additional information is available from the National Weather Service. Click Here
Health And Safety Tips To Deal With The Winter Chill
As the thermometer continues to drop in Wisconsin, people need to be prepared for the blustery conditions. Below are some health and safety tips to deal with the winter chill.
- Frostbite is damage to body tissue caused by extreme cold. A wind chill of –20° Fahrenheit (F) could cause frostbite in just 15 minutes or less. Frostbite causes a loss of feeling and a white or pale appearance in extremities such as fingers, toes, ear tips or the tip of the nose. If symptoms are detected—Seek medical care Immediately!
- Hypothermia is a condition that develops when the body temperature drops below 95°F. It is very deadly. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, disorientation, slurred speech and drowsiness. Seek medical care Immediately!
- Overexertion is dangerous. Cold weather puts an added strain on the heart. Unaccustomed exercise such as shoveling snow or pushing a car can bring on a heart attack or make an existing medical condition worse.
'Tis the Freezin' Season -- Give Extra Care to Pets and Livestocks
Contact: Donna Gilson
MADISON -- A frigid forecast and news of a dog left overnight frozen to a sidewalk in Sheboygan are prompting Wisconsin's state humane officer to remind people that animals need extra care in winter.
"The holiday rush, especially when people may have financial worries this year, unfortunately might mean providing extra care for pets and livestock is the last thing on their minds," says Dr. Yvonne Bellay of the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. People are occupied, too, by all the other things that can go wrong frigid weather, like frozen water lines and cars that won't start -- and that can distract them from the risks that animals face in extreme cold weather poses.
Bellay says, "Animals can suffer from hypothermia, frostbite and other cold weather injuries, and harsh conditions can weaken their immune systems, leaving them vulnerable to illness. You need to think about extra nutrition, access to water, plenty of good bedding, and proper shelter for both pets and livestock."
She offers these tips for pet owners:
Food Outdoor pets need more food, of good quality, in cold weather to produce body heat.
Shelter Outdoor animals need a dry shelter that's large enough for them to stand, sit, turn around and lie down comfortably, but not so large that its normal body heat is lost. Line the bottom with dry, nonabsorbent material that won't get wet, matted, and frozen. Marsh hay works well; leaves and fabric do not.
Water Don't make your outdoor pets rely on ice or snow for water, because the animal has to expend too much body heat melting them. Use an inexpensive heater that sits right in the water bowl to prevent freezing. If you can't do that, fill the bowl with fresh, tepid water at least twice a day.
Walking Keep your dog leashed. Snow and ice can make it difficult for dogs to follow a scent, so they may lose their way and be wandering in bitter cold. Protect their paws from sharp ice and salt, either with booties or by cleaning their paws thoroughly when they come inside. Short-haired dogs need sweaters outdoors in extreme cold weather.
Grooming Wet, dirty, matted coats cannot insulate against the cold, so be sure your animals are well-groomed, but not shaved. After bathing an animal, dry it thoroughly before letting it outdoors.
Cars Bang on the hood before starting the car on cold days to startle any sleeping animals that may have sought shelter there. And remember, don't leave your pet alone in a vehicle. It may freeze to death.
Sleeping Even indoor animals needs a warm place to sleep, off the floor and out of drafts, especially old or ill animals.
For livestock owners, Bellay advises:
Shelter Generally, a 20-mph wind is about equal to a 30-degree drop in temperature. Make sure animals have a place to get out of the wind, even if it is just a windbreak or a three-sided shelter, and that other buildings don't deflect wind and snow into the shelter.
Food Livestock kept outdoors will need more food than usual -- and good quality food. As a general rule, nutrient requirements increase about 1 percent for every degree that the temperature falls below 20 degrees F. Horses' nutrition requirements increase below 45 degrees F.
Water Provide access to fresh water -- not frozen streams or snow -- daily. Stock tank heaters and frost-proof waterers will ensure than livestock get enough to drink.
Bedding Keep plenty of dry bedding to insulate udders and legs from frostbite.
Moisture Long hair or fleece insulates only when it is dry. Wet or muddy hair or fleece loses insulating ability and actually cools the animal as it dries.
Transportation When hauling animals, especially calves and swine, cover openings in the vehicle box to cut wind chill and keep rain out, but allow some air to pass over the animals for ventilation. Provide a deep bed of dry straw for calves younger than 4 weeks or for any swine. Be especially careful with animals recently brought in from warmer climates that may not be acclimated.